Show Less
Restricted access

Voicing Voluntary Childlessness

Narratives of Non-Mothering in French


Natalie Edwards

The decision to reject motherhood is the subject of several key works of literature in French since the new millennium. This book looks at first-person accounts of voluntary childlessness by women writing in French. The book explores how women narrate their decision not to mother, the issues that they face in doing so and the narrative techniques that they employ to justify their stories. It asks how these authors challenge stereotypes of the childless woman by claiming their own identity in narrative, publicly proclaiming their right to choose and writing a femininity that is not connected to motherhood.
Using feminist, sociological and psychoanalytic theories to interrogate non-mothering, this work is the first book-length study of narratives that counter this long-standing taboo. It brings together authors who stake out a new terrain, creating a textual space in which to take ownership of their childlessness and call for new understandings of female identity beyond maternity.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access



Abma, Joyce C., and Gladys M. Martinez, ‘Childlessness Among Older Women in the United States: Trends and Profiles’, Journal of Marriage and Family 68/4 (2006), 1045–56.

——, Anjani Chandra, William D. Mosher, Linda S. Peterson, and Linda J. Piccinino, ‘Fertility, Family Planning, and Women’s Health: New Data from the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth’, Vital and Health Statistics 23/19 (1997), 1–114.

Agacinski, Sylviane, La Politique des sexes (Paris: Seuil, 1998).

‘Aides de la caisse d’allocations familiales’, 1 April 2014, accessed 21 May 2015.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.